GIFS for building rapport and communicating

A response to the A Serious Use For Silly Media Activity
created by Elan Paulson (@Elan Paulson)

Number of views: 41

This was the activity that I completed on my phone. Although I did not spend as much time with this activity as I did with the H5P activity, I was SURPRISED how long it took me to get familiar with the app.

I started with something simple (the butterfly video), something that could be used in class to demonstrate how easy it could be to make a GIF to connect with learners. Then, I found a cute video of my cat, and I made another gif.

But I realized that I was still thinking like a faculty member, and an old person. I was not using any of the tools that were available with respect to filters, accessories, or other elements that are available.

Once I started down that rabbit hole, it took me a very long time, physically, to be able to re-size and move the little animated images around on my phone. You will see that I spent 30 minutes making one, only to discover that I had somehow magnified the view, and accidentally saved it that way. So I had to back and make another one.

It made me think about how very different our forms of communication might be becoming. While I am used to using email, text, and maybe the occasional video clip with a deep saying, the way that young people communicate with each other via GIFS is entirely different. What looks silly or ugly or useless to me might be very meaningful to others. It also accounts, perhaps, for some of the reason why young people spend so much time on their phones communicating. It’s not because they are constantly texting…they may be making and perfecting just ONE GIF.

Again, in the spirit of experimentation, I decided to “go for it,” and make a GIF or two that are quite unprofessional and silly. This isn’t how I like to represent myself online. I won’t be using these GIFS in my practice. But, what I am realizing is that experimenting really is about taking risks. If we do everything that we have always done, we are not risk-taking. But when we take risks, we have to be brave about what we are creating. It is going to be ugly, imperfect, and silly. But maybe that’s how we will truly connect with our learners.

I have never used filters. I don’t even like them on Zoom. But maybe I need to think a little more about the extent to which I experiment–not just in ways that keep me feeling comfortable, but also in ways that really reach out to my learners where they are.

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